Friday, March 29, 2013

Ten-Friendly Tell Me Fast Cards and {FREEBIE}

As part of our number sense routines at the beginning of our math time, I have been using Tell Me Fast cards to help students with subitizing.  Knowing that being able to make 10 is an important skill for future grades, I created these ten-friendly tell me fast cards.  I use them as a Power Point, but you could print them out and show them to small or large groups of students.  Here are some pictures below.

My goal is for the students to take some of the dots on the second ten frame and combine them with the first ten frame to fill in the ten.  Then students count the extras and add this to the ten.  So for the one above, students would take 2 on the ten frame on the left and bring them over to fill in the ten frame to make 10 and then see that there are 2 extras, so there are 12 all together.  It's great to use with Common Core K NBT1 because it helps them see that the teen numbers are 10 and some extra ones.  It's also reinforces  K OA4 because they are making combinations of ten first. This helps them build understanding of 10-friendly combinations which will help with double digit addition later on.  Get the freebie here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Number of the Day

I've been reading Jessica Shumways's Number Sense Routines book and just love, love, love it.  The idea of number of the day isn't really new to me.  I did it for years when I taught the upper grades.  When you do number of the day in those grades, you really get lots of interesting ways to make the number because the students have so many more operations that they can use to reach the number.  So, when I tried it with my kinders this week I didn't really expect much deep math to come from it.  But I was pleasantly surprised!  Yesterday our number of the day was 7.  I asked the students to think of as many ways as they could to get 7.  I had the basic addition facts to equal 7. Then some of my higher kinders figured out a few ways to reach 7 with subtraction.  But then, my little gifted kinder says, "20-13=7". We talked about how to got that- he counted back 7 on his fingers and landed at 13.  But the coolest thing was what happened next.  Another of my little smarties said, "19-12=7" I asked him how he figured that out.  He said that he took the 20-13 and took one away from each number and he knew if he did that it would still equal 7.  Then, another of my little smarties said, "Well, if 19-12=7 then 21-14=7"  Now, I am not naive.  I know that not every one of my kinders understood what these smarties were doing, but some of them were really interested and trying to understand what they were doing. 
Then I challenged them to try to use 3 different numbers to reach 7.  One of my most behaviorally challenged kinders said, "That will be too difficult."  He was about to shut down and give up, but we worked through one together using our fingers as manipulatives.  We came up with the 2 on one hand as our first number and then we broke apart the 5 on the other hand into 2 and 3, so we wrote 2+2+3.  Then, we used that same strategy to create two more three addend number sentences that equaled 7.
By that time, I was starting to lose a few kinders to the wiggles, so we kissed our brains for working so hard and gave ourselves a pat on the back for being such good mathematicians.  Great stuff!  The great math that happens third and fourth quarter in Kindergarten makes the drudgery and never ending boredom of first and second quarter worth it! :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Problem of the Day {FREEBIE}

Lots of people do math "Problem of the Day" in their classrooms and over the years I have seen lots of different formats.  I am not sure who to give credit to for this format- someone at our school gave the basic format to us at a PD day. But I changed it a little to make it more Kinder-friendly. Here's a picture of it.  I've created several more that I plan to try out with my kinders this week. After we solve, I will choose a couple kiddos to come to the document camera to share their work and explain their strategies.  Click here for the freebie

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I am participating in this fabulous giveaway!  She has so many products that have been donated- check out her website here and enter to win some great products!

Somedays Sundays are so frantic getting everything done and making sure that I have all the materials ready for the upcoming week.  But lately I've been spending time on Sundays thinking more deeply about my instruction.  I go through phases and right now I am in a math phase (probably why it was difficult for me to finish my literacy pocket chart station- see yesterday's post).  So I've been thinking a lot about my math time.  I had been doing math centers and just wasn't feeling like it was productive.  So, I struggled for a while to fill my math time with meaningful activities. But, right now, I am loving my math time.  So I thought I would devote this post to my ramblings (hopefully coherent ones) about my math time. 
Right now I begin math with some kind of number sense routine- count around the circle, tell me fast cards or counting on the hundreds chart on the smartboard.  It's quick and easy and it gets them focused on thinking about math.  After that, we do a daily math page from my monthly math products.  Check April's out here.  Then we turn it over to the back and do one or two word problems.  Lately, we've been working on comparing word problems.  We do those and then one or two students share them on the Smartboard and we talk about the strategies we used to solve them.  When we are finished with that, we've been doing a whole group focus lesson on subtraction.  We usually do a game of some kind from Kathy Richardson's books.  Then we come back together at the carpet and talk about what math we did.  I use this time to reinforce the math vocabulary that describes what we did.  We talk about the strategies we used to do the math that day and the tools with which we worked.  I have a little guilt that I am not doing centers but I feel good about what we're doing and the learning that is happening.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

April Pocket Chart Station Freebie!

Wow, I never thought I would finish my April Pocket Chart Station.  I had some serious block on this one, and I just couldn't get motivated to get it done once I figured out what I wanted to do.  Then, I got stuck on my Making Words activity and re-did it at least three times.  A big thank you to my teammates for helping me work through it and making it easier to understand and visually less cluttered.  I don't know what I would do without Leann and Cindy! :)
So, I sighed a big sigh of relief when I posted it this morning. And, then I took this piece of it out and made it a freebie for the few people out there who click on my lonely little blog. I love making words activities and I think this one will work well for the pocket chart and my kinders' abilities this time of year. Grab the freebie here! And check out some pictures of the activities included in the April Pocket Chart Station.  Happy teaching!



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Count Around the Circle

I just recently discovered the book Number Sense Routines by Jessica Shumway and I am loving it!!! I am getting so many great ideas and information and I am only in Chapter 3.  One of the things I am excited about doing today when my Kinders come back is Count Around the Circle. It will be a great addition to my math time.  We will sit in a circle around our meeting area carpet.  I am going to have to start really basic and just count by ones at first.  One student begins and you count around the circle- each student saying the next number in the sequence.  I see all sorts of great things coming from this- and it's a good informal assessment of a student's understanding of counting sequence. Plus, it's a nice new routine for us.  Our math calendar time is getting kind of stale and boring (for me especially) and I am always looking for new ideas to perk things up during math.  I think Counting Around the Circle will definitely do it!  What number routines do you have in your classroom that you LOVE?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Matching Strategy

I love the matching strategy.  It all started many years ago when my teammate and I were involved in a research project at Arizona State University.  We were learning CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) and attempting to implement it into our classrooms.  We were team teaching at the time and had about 50 ELL 1st graders in the classroom during math time.  We'd present a word problem and then the students would choose the tools that they wanted to use to solve it.  Well, the matching strategy popped up during one of the subtraction word problems.  Someone decided to make the two sets and then match them up to see the difference.  The student came up to the overhead (I know- old school huh?) and showed their two sets and explained what they did.  I don't even remember if it was a comparing word problem or not, but the matching strategy was born in our classroom and boy did it take off!  Now students were using it for every kind of subtraction problem they could.  Even though it is best for comparing problems, students were using it for your basic subtraction problem- I had 6 cookies.  I ate 3.  How many are left?  They would make the sets and match it up.  Our ASU researcher was a little concerned because the matching strategy didn't fit with the action of the Separate Result Unknown word problem, but we weren't really concerned- we loved the matching strategy.  It continues to be a favorite strategy of mine and each year I wait, sometimes not so patiently, until someone "discovers" it and we can bring it into our bank of strategies for solving word problems. 
When we come back from Spring break on Tuesday, we are beginning our subtraction unit. 
CC6 Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group (matching and counting strategies) is also one of our standards for 4th quarter.  So, it's the perfect time to explore the matching strategy.  "Who has more?"  is an easy concept at this time for most kindergarteners, but I want to push them to figure out the "How many more?" That's where the matching strategy comes in.  I have an activity/assessment pack for CC6.  Click here to see it.  (BTW, I have having a ONE DAY ONLY SALE) But, although the activity is a matching strategy activity, the assessments don't use the matching strategy.  So I created this freebie.  It includes some activities/assessment you can use for the matching strategy.  And, at the end, it has 5-6 pages of word problems (Compare Difference Unknown) that can be used to facilitate the teaching of the matching strategy.  Below are some pictures. Happy Matching!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blend fluency boards

Well, Spring Break is officially over. I feel like I've been productive this week.  A couple of fairy tale packs finished and ready for next week.  I also made two new freebies.  We are teaching blends when we come back after break and I created this fluency boards.  I've used similar things for letters and nonsense words, so I thought I could do the same thing with blends.  I plan to use them in reading group and also have a parent volunteer work one-on-one with different students. Grab the freebie here and here

The teachers have a PD day on Monday.  We have a motivational speaker in the morning and then meetings all afternoon.  We are meeting with the 1st grade team for "vertical articulation".  These meetings always feel like pick on the kinder teachers because we always hear what they can't do when they come to first grade and never focus on what the incoming first graders do well.  Maybe this year will be different :)  I teach at a K-8 school, but next year they are building middle schools and we will be a K-6 school.  So, we are having a meeting Monday about transitioning to a K-6 school and what will be different etc... I've always taught in a K-8 school, so I really look forward to getting rid of the big kids and focusing on K-6.  I always feel like Kinder gets left behind a little because we're not a testing grade so maybe going K-6 we won't feel so neglected. 
Enjoy the freebies! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Question Words

I am beginning a fairy tale unit when we come back from spring break. One of our fourth quarter standards is L1d Use and understand question words. I made this cute freebie to go along with my fairy tale unit. It's designed for a pocket chart center. Just print the question cards and the answer cards. Put the questions cards in the pocket chart. Students read the questions and then use the answer cards to match the correct answer to the question. Then there's a worksheet where the students can write the answer in a whole sentence (with some picture and tracing help). Grab the freebie from my store here and see some sample pictures below.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

April Morning Math and my crazy life

I have been MIA for quite a while. Let's see, to get caught up- we put our house on the market, sold it in 3 days, 2 weeks later moved into an apartment while our new house is being built. I've been boxing up my life, moving a bunch of it to storage and the rest up three flights of stairs. Add to that the craziness of 3rd quarter and you have my world in February and early March. Wheew- I am on Spring Break and I can get back to some normalcy after that! With spring breaks comes me catching up on the TpT stuff that I just haven't had time for and, of course, coming back to my lonely little blog. I have two new items at TpT that I am really excited about. One is a fairy tale literacy pack. Click here to see it. The other is my April Morning Math packet. Click here for my preview which includes one freebie from each of the four weeks. Here are some pictures of both of them.
Writing center cards
Put together sentence


Same sentences for the pocket chart

Brace map to show character, setting, etc... for each fairy tale

Finish the sentence papers for each fairy tale
April Morning Math sample

April morning math sample

April morning math sample